Buddy was born and raised in Winston-Salem. Early interest in cooking was fostered by helping out in the kitchen at home with Mama Sidney. Sidney urged Buddy to get a job when he turned sixteen. He ended up shortly at The Diamondback Grill under the tutelage of the Gregg family learning basic culinary skills and developing an almost instant love of the restaurant environment. After several years of college and restaurant life Buddy was ready to make a career as a chef. At 24 he moved to Hyde Park, N.Y. and attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. During that time he worked at the Cripple Creek Café and the acclaimed Belvedere Mansion in Staatsburg. After graduation Buddy moved to Charleston, S.C. to hone his skills and get management experience. He took a head chef position with the Boathouse Restaurant group and opened their second location on East Bay St. downtown. After a successful 5 year run Buddy was asked to help open Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan’s Island with his wife and partner Wendy. The concept and menu they helped create was an instant hit with locals and vacationers.
Over the years Buddy and brother John discussed plans to go into business together; a dream they shared from the early college days. After passing on several opportunities in Charleston they started to focus on a concept for Winston-Salem. In the summer of 2005, that concept and their dreams became reality in Milner’s American Southern.
Buddy lives in Winston-Salem with Wendy and their two sons Quinn and James.
John Milner was born and raised in Winston-Salem, where his fondest memories growing up were at the dinner table. After a long trip away from home following his passion for hospitality and food, he landed right back here.
Along the way, he first spent time in Boone, N.C. and in Colorado. He (relatively) quickly learned that his focus in life would be the food and beverage industry. As an aspiring chef, he moved to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America, where he received his associate’s degree in culinary arts. After graduation, he narrowed down the endless possibilities of continuing his education to Charleston, S.C. Back in his southern roots, he was able to focus on his passion for southern regional cuisine and hospitality.
After several years, he moved back to Winston-Salem and is blessed parent of three: Lily, Sidney Rose and Owen. John and his brother, Buddy, opened Milner’s American Southern in 2005.
“My passion is creativity, hospitality and quality ingredients – I utilize as many local businesses, farms and products as the market will allow. I am proud to be part of a community that is growing and that has helped me grow.” – Chef John